Las Vegas Cops Jam Courtroom – Media Pool Photo
Powerful police unions and law enforcement associations are directly responsible for the rapidly deteriorating image cops now have throughout America, and share responsibility for a recent rash of attacks on officers.
Unions once had a credible purpose—ensuring police officers received decent pay, benefits and retirement plans. But, in recent decades, they have morphed into something quite different than what public service employee unions purport to be. Modern police unions are more akin to brutal street gangs and Mafia hit squads than legitimate labor organizations that promote the best interests of members.
East Coast unions tend to be more powerful and unscrupulous than their West Coast counterparts, although the Eastern model has been adopted in several key western cities, such as San Francisco and Las Vegas. Perhaps it’s the decades of association with shady underworld figures and Mob bosses that distinguish the Eastern version. Or, more likely, differences can be traced to East Coast union members typically falling under a “civil service” classification, according to law enforcement consultants. The unholy combination of Civil Service systems AND strong unions virtually guarantees that cities and police department managers can’t fire bad cops, regardless of how egregious the rogues’ antics.
One of the most disgusting examples of a renegade cop benefiting from a union’s grossly willful blindness to glaring misconduct is German Bosque, who has been dubbed “Florida’s dirtiest cop.” Despite being arrested three times, fired five times, and “probed more than 40 times by internal affairs, including 16 cases involving serious battery and excessive force,” Bosque always got his job back or was hired elsewhere, according to the Miami New Times.
Bosque is the quintessential poster boy for police misconduct. “He tried to board an airplane with a loaded gun, got caught with coke and counterfeit cash in his police car, was charged with domestic violence, lied to his bosses, and made up police reports,” the Times’ said. “He split open one handcuffed man’s face with a vicious headbutt…improperly chased a suspect, until he crashed into a tree, and then covered up his role in the wreck by doctoring police reports. He punched a teen suspect in the face three times….” The Opa Locka sergeant was finally convicted of “felony false imprisonment and witness tampering” last summer.
How did Bosque not only avoid prison time for blatant crimes, but stay on the job? Because powerful unions and Florida’s indulgent internal affairs processes blindly protected the badged felon. That’s hardly unique these days.
Modern police unions share a number of characteristics that tarnish the image and reputations of professional officers, estranging them from communities they serve:
- Fostering a siege mentality, the notion that every department manager and taxpayer is “out to get us.” That breeds a senseless, unnecessary us-versus-them attitude, with “them” being their employers—citizens who pay taxes to underwrite cops’ salaries.
- Offensive, belligerent attitudes that alienate citizens and widen the chasm separating uniformed officers from their community.
- Justifying union leaders’ positions, by nurturing a chronic adversarial posture, when dealing with department management, civic leaders and taxpayers. Union chiefs routinely bad-mouth everybody who is NOT a cop, and continually push for higher pay, more benefits, fewer hours, and hiring more officers, oblivious to the acute financial crises facing most cities and towns.
- Routinely launching attacks against every citizen, who dares to challenge cops about their rampant malfeasance and unwarranted violence. Unions form teams to comment on Internet-based news stories, cyber-bullying and intimidating anybody, who questions the veracity of an officer’s story, the need for more cops on the street, or any random issue that might offend a police union goon.
- Endorsing political candidates at the local, state and federal level, then backing their choices with enormous cash contributions. In turn, when those candidates are elected, they’re expected to support issues of interest to the police unions, rather than the best interests of the community and its citizens. In essence, unions buy their bosses, then control their elected puppets.
Although myriad police unions across the country exhibit these traits, arguably the most corrupt, dangerous department in America is the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department, known to locals as “Metro.” The Los Angeles Times reported, “In 2010, [Metro] police were involved in four times the number of shootings per capita in Las Vegas as in New York, and twice as many as in Los Angeles—cities with far larger populations—according to the Las Vegas Review-Journal newspaper.” The Review-Journal also printed an in-depth, five-part series about the violence Las Vegas cops have unleashed on citizens and visitors for decades.
Particularly egregious shootings by Metro cops that year prompted a review by the U.S. Justice Department, which “suggested” a long list of reforms. Based on inside sources, though, one of the main triggers for Metro’s radical changes in policies, procedures and training was the senseless shooting of my eldest son, Erik Scott. Whatever the motivation for changes, they’ve had little impact, evidently. Metro cops are still shooting and killing on a regular basis, undeterred by new policies and procedures, or Justice Department findings.
At the heart of Las Vegas Metro’s horrific record of shootings, brutality and abuse is the Las Vegas Police Protective Association (PPA). Although claiming to be a collective bargaining representative for Metro’s roughly 2,500 uniformed officers, the PPA is “really nothing more than a club, because it’s an association, not a union,” said a retired deputy.
The PPA is perceived to be an integral cog in a sophisticated Cartel of Corruption machine that controls Las Vegas. The jaw-dropping capers of its leaders do nothing to dispel that impression. Immediately after an officer-involved shooting, the PPA is quick to declare the shooter(s) innocent and unrolls a tired, transparent game plan to discredit and marginalize the dead victim. Union die-hards routinely work hand-in-hand with Metro’s cover-up architects to ensure their members’ misdeeds are absolved. Adding insult to tragedy, the PPA’s corrupt, arrogant chiefs often nominate the killer-cop(s) for some police association award, as an attempt to sway public perceptions and help exonerate the shooter. This sham is so common that Las Vegans call the PPA practice “A self-licking ice cream cone.”
Perhaps the most arrogant, distasteful, in-your-face practice any union gangster could dream up occurred within the last few years, as the LVMPD brought two high-profile outlaws into its fortress of corruption:
- Installing Detective Bryan Yant as a PPA “union director.” Yant is one of Metro’s worst, a serial killer-cop, who shot three people and killed two, within his first 10 years on the force. Each shooting was highly questionable, and even local District Attorneys—who always collaborate with Metro to exonerate killer-cops—said Yant lied about what happened. Despite overwhelming forensic evidence that Yant literally executed a young black man, Trevon Cole, in the latter’s own bathroom, Metro didn’t fire or discipline him. However, Las Vegans were so incensed by the Cole murder-by-cop that the wussy, complicit sheriff, Douglas Gillespie, dared not put Yant back on the street, fearing it would trigger bloody riots.
- District Attorney David Roger, who helped script “Justified” findings, after countless police shootings, always finding ways to overlook cop misconduct, “retired” early from his office…and joined the PPA as its general counsel. So, the one person, who was supposed to be the citizens’ final hope for holding criminal killer-cops accountable, now represents those same officers in legal battles.
Both “appointments” to PPA posts stunned Las Vegas citizens. However, reasons given for making serial killer Bryan Yant a union board member pegged people’s incredulity meters: Yant’s primary job is to advise other cops how to handle officer-involved shootings. Translation: Yant coaches killers to lie and spin accounts of a lethal encounter to ensure that cop is never, ever found responsible for taking someone’s life.
“He’s a huge asset to the union,” the PPA’s executive director, Chris Collins, gushed in a Review-Journal story. “Bryan Yant lived through the hell of being in a police shooting…[and] he can tell somebody that it’s like biting a s*** sandwich. You’re not going to like it, but you’ll get through it.” Collins, the epitome of an arrogant, nauseating union padrone, never fails to irk his taxpayer bosses with crude and inappropriate comments.
As a result of the Las Vegas PPA’s slavish backing of serial killer-cops, thousands of Las Vegas citizens have very little respect for Metro, even though about a third are good, professional officers. That’s why up to 300 of them have abandoned the Collins-headed PPA. Several confided that they could no longer be part of a blatantly criminal outfit. Yet, as the PPA ranks shrink, Collins and his acolytes double down on their mindless, self-destructive ways.
I’ll have more to say about the vagaries of police unions in future posts, but will close by asking honorable, professional cops to consider a sobering possibility: When whacked out assassins, such as Eric Frien and the Millers hunt and kill police officers, are they reacting to the epidemic of executions by police officers, who also are never held accountable, because strong unions mindlessly defend killer-cops?
Honest police officers should work closely with elected officials to defang powerful police unions, reducing their influence and power to protect malfeasant cops. Several tactics are showing promise:
• Implementing statutes that remove all full-time police-union leaders from public payrolls. Eight Las Vegas PPA leaders currently receive more than a million dollars in pay and benefits every year, yet never perform a single day of bona fide police work. They should be stricken from Metro payrolls and paid only from increased union dues…if they’re worth it to PPA members.
• Removing every cop in America from civil service status, which would enable disciplining and firing bad cops for misdeeds.
• Decertifying outlaw unions, like the Las Vegas PPA. For example, refusing to recognize the Las Vegas PPA as a legal representative of Metro’s officers, because the “union” (association) fails to serve the best interests of its members.
More to follow.
William B. Scott